In Denmark we disagree about a lot in politics, but not about the value of having a core foundation of tax-sponsored public services that make the playing field a little more even for all of us. Democracy, capitalism and human rights don’t have to be every man for himself.
Last Sunday I was playing with my grand kids in the garden at my son’s and daughter in law’s place. We were playing kid’s tennis spending most of time looking for the ball in the bushes. Monday morning I found that a tick had bitten me in the back. Wednesday morning my wife checked the bite and was worried. She insisted that I went to the doctor.
I had an appointment with my dentist the same day at 10:40 and as our doctor (a small ambulatory with several doctors and nurses) have the hours 11-12 reserved for non-scheduled consultations I went and checked in before going to the dentist.
The dentist was on time so I checked out from her at 10:55, walked across the street to the doctors and waited 10 minutes before my name was called. The doctor had a look at the tick bite and prescribed penicillin for the next 10 days. The consultation took less than 5 minutes. I didn’t even get a prescription as he had already entered the information in my central EMR (electronic medical record). I walked across the street to the pharmacy and picked up the drugs. The lady in the pharmacy offered me a glass of water so I could start the cure right away.
At 11:15 I was sitting in the train on my way to my 12 o’clock lunch appointment in Copenhagen reflecting over the process that I just experienced. I had to pay €30 for the penicillin and the dentist cost me €60, but apart from that everything else was paid through my tax bill. My train is slightly delayed as there is an ambulance picking up someone at the next station. I know that the unfortunate will not be presented with a huge bill or rejected for being an alien if she happens to be visiting.
I know that my example is just one out of a thousand incidents that happens every day in Denmark, but I was grateful for the speed of the process and for not having to worry about the financial implications of my treatment.
We pay an awful lot of taxes in this country and most people would run away screaming if they were not born here. We had an election for the parliament this week and not one of the political parties had or have changes to the concept of free health care, free education and a tight social security system on their agenda. We disagree about a lot in politics, but not about the value of having a core foundation of tax-sponsored public services that make the playing field a little more even for all of us.
Democracy, capitalism and human rights doesn’t have to be every man for himself.